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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  July 18, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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07/18/12 07/18/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" of suicide bombing has killed syrian defense minister, deputy, a president al-assad's brother- in-law. the attack in damascus leaves serious interior chief quickly wounded. we will speak with patrick seale, author of "asad: the struggle for the middle east." then as the republicans blocked a bill to unmask anonymous campaign donors, we will look a sheldon adelson, the billionaire casino magnate backing mitt romney. as adelson pledges to donate
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$100 million to defeat president obama, he is coming under new scrutiny for possible violations of federal and debris law and ties to chinese organized crime we will look at mitt romney and his time has had a private equity firm bain capital critics mr. romney has a different idea. he invests in companies that have been called pioneers of outsourcing. i don't want a pioneer in outsourcing. i was some insourcing. >> now the boston globe is reporting romney remained head of bain for three years beyond the time he says he ceded control. what is the significance of this? all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a suicide bomber has struck a meeting of top syrian officials in damascus, killing a
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number people, dealing a blow to the regime of president bashar al-assad read the defense minister, general daoud rajha, along with al-assad's brother- in-law. the head of the national security office has also been reportedly wounded and possibly dead. we will have more on syria after the headlines. the bombing follows days of clashes between government forces and rebels around damascus and comes as the nation security council is set to vote today and a new measure responding to the overall crisis. at talks with russia have faltered over whether to include a reference to chapter 7 of the u.n. charter, which could ultimately pave the way for military force. and it's the worsening fighting, john ging of the u.n.'s office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs issued a new appeal for aid. >> we face a lot of obstacles in the efforts to meet the needs of the people. we face tremendous political
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obstruction from the government of syria. we face an incredibly dangerous operational environment because of the conflict itself, and we face capacity issues among the organizations to are trying to scale up physically from a humanitarian or very little humanitarian operations to a massive humanitarian operation. we need more money. if we do not get more money, people will die and there will be more humanitarian suffering. >> and afghanistan, taliban bombing has destroyed 22 trucks carrying supplies for the u.s.- led nato occupation. the fuel trucks and supply vehicles were parked in northern samangan province when the magnetic bomb blew them apart. truck russians recently resumed from pakistan after the u.s. apologized for airstrike that killed 24 pakistani soldiers
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last year. a top executive at the banking giant hsbc has resigned in the wake of a report linking the firm to money laundering for mexican drug cartels. a senate probe also found loose protections at hsbc's u.s. unit provided a gateway for terrorists to gain access to u.s. dollars in the u.s. financial system. on tuesday, the david bagley, the head of compliance at hsbc, announced his resignation and apologized in testimony before a senate hearing. >> i recognize there have been some significant areas of failure. i have said before and will say again, despite the best efforts and intentions of many dedicated professionals, hsbc has fallen short of our own expectations and the expectations of our regulators. this is something that abatement seeking to conduct business in u.s. and globally must learn from and take steps to avoid in the future. >> the justice department has
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confirmed it's investigating hsbc for criminal wrongdoing. also speaking on tuesday, michigan democratic senator carl levin said hsbc must now show accountability for its actions. >> the recent commitments are welcome. apologies and commitments to improve our also welcome, but accountability for past conduct is the central, and that is what has been missing here. >> the report on hsbc comes amidst widespread scandals in the global financial sector, including news the british bank barclays manipulated the key global interest rate, libor. appearing for the senate banking committee, federal reserve chair ben bernanke acknowledged u.s. officials were aware of the rate manipulation as early as four years ago, but were powerless to take action beyond alerting british officials. bernanke said the libor scandal has caused major damage and showed the international
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exchanges "structurally flawed." addressing the sluggish pace of u.s. job growth, ben bernanke said the fed is prepared to take new action to address high employment. >> reflecting its concerns about the slow pace of progress in reducing unemployment and the downside risk to the economic outlook, the committee made clear at the june meeting it is prepared it take further action as appropriate to promote a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability. >> the wall street journal has revealed the u.s. is building a new so-called missile defense radar station in qatar. the pentagon-run site will come as part of a regional system to defend what one official called a wide range of u.s. security interests in the persian gulf. critics have called the missile defense system an offensive weapon against iran. the nigerian government has ordered the oil giant shell to pay record $5 billion fine for a major offshore oil spill last year. the spill leaked an estimated
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40,000 barrels of oil into the sea, threatening local wildlife and massive pollution along the nigerian coast. the spill can just four months after the united nations said it would take 30 years and around $1 billion for a small section of the niger delta to recover from environmental damage caused by shell and other companies. shell says the new find as "no basis." environmental groups have kicked off a global week of action against the oil giant shell's looming oil drilling operation in the alaskan arctic. shell is set to begin exploratory drilling in the beaufort and chukchi seas later this summer. the activists across the world have begun holding protests at scholl sites in a bid to stop the drilling, forcing dozens to temporarily shut down. at a shell gas station in london, activists managed to place an animatronic polar bear on the station's roof. >> it will be the first big oil
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company this summer to stop -- drilling for oil in the arctic. the arctic is a unique and beautiful area of the plan agreed to drill for oil there would endanger the wildlife, the habitat of polar bears and other creatures as well as the 4 million people who live there. people all over the world are taking action like this and helping shell will listen in hoping scholl will make a decision not to go in draw for oil in the arctic. >> a un human rights investigator calling on u.s. to halt the executions of two mentally disabled death row prisoners in georgia and texas. the prisoners, were held and yokamon hearn, were found guilty of murder and sentenced to die despite concerns they may have disabilities. the u.n. special rupture on executions called for the men's sentences to be commuted saying the killings would violate the supreme court's ruling against executing people with mental disabilities. yokamon her reportedly has been diagnosed with feet of offices
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interim and has a history of mental health problems and scheduled to be executed tonight in texas. planned parenthood has filed suit seeking to block a new state law in arizona blocking funding for abortion providers. it is set to take effect in early august, the law bans the use of public funds by state or local government to contact with any organization that provides abortions as one of its services. planned parenthood of arizona says the ban targets for organization, which provides cancer screenings and well women exams in exit -- in addition to abortions. a new york times reporter has revealed the obama and romney campaigns are exerting major influence on the media by demanding editing power over quotes used in stories. in a front-page article, jeremy peters said journalists are largely acquiescing to demands by politicians and their visors by allowing them to approve quotes before publication. peters noted a white house practice of holding so-called
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deep background briefings, where reporters can paraphrase senior obama administration officials but cannot identify them or quote what they say. he described how quotes collected from campaign officials are said to them for approval and are often redacted, stripped of colorful metaphors, colloquial language and anything even mildly provocative. peters said -- "it is difficult to find a news outlet" that has not permitted officials to approve quotes, noting the washington post, new york times, bloomberg, and reuters and others have allowed a. janitors in houston, texas, spread across a cities in the u.s. progenitors were membe strikers are in their second
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week. they said they faced harassment and intimidation and rejected an offer that would have raised their pay by just 50 cents an hour over five years. today is nelson mandela international day as the anti- apartheid leader and former south african president turns 94 years old. the united nations has back mandela pasquale's for citizens worldwide to do 67 minutes of voluntary work to represent the 67 years mandela devoted to south africa's political struggle. at of celebrations in south africa, mandela's wife said her husband is in good health. >> [unintelligible] he has recovered remarkably well. >> those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report.
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i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. a suicide bomber has struck a meeting of top syrian officials in damascus, killing syria's defense minister and the brother-in-law of president bashar al-assad, and dealing a major blow to the assad regime. syria's defense minister, general daoud rajha, was killed along with his deputy. assef shawkat. two others have been reported critically wounded. the most senior government official killed since syrian uprising began. reuters said the suicide bomber worked as a bodyguard in al- assad's inner circle. al jazeera is reporting the free syrian army and an islamist rebel groups have claimed responsibility for the blast. >> today's attack followed days of clashes between government forces and rebels around damascus.
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the bombing comes as the united nations security council is set to vote today on a new measure responding to the crisis in syria. talks with russia have faltered over whether to include a reference to chapter 7 of the u.n. charter, which could ultimately pave the way for military force. patrick seale joins us now, a leading british writer on the middle east. he is author of, "asad: the struggle for the middle east." he most recently wrote, "the struggle for arab independence: riad el-solh and the makers of the modern middle east." patrick seale, welcome to "democracy now!" can you talk about the significance of this attack in damascus? >> as you said, it is very significant. the top brass of the security has been eliminated. you mentioned three or four names, and there will be others either seriously wounded or dead. the united states itself, as they discovered in iraq, it is difficult to protect yourself
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against suicide bombers. the result is likely the regime will respond with even greater ruthlessness than before. i'm not sure an attack of this sort will benefit the opposition. public opinion might be our rage, maybe terror, it may feel this is not what they wanted. of course, suicide bombers of this sort bear the hallmarks of jihadist, to cities armed islamic extremists coming in from iraq, lebanon and elsewhere. of course, this poses a fundamental difficulty, the limit for the western pouts and for saudi arabia. the money and weapons they're sending to rebels made themselves and up in jihadi hands free and i do not think the u.s. would like to find
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itself on the same side as al qaeda, for example. the situation is grim. it is a serious blow to the regime. i think the regime will fight back with greater brutality. kofi annan's peace plan is going down the drain. the russians still support it, the chinese still support it. they believe the only way to resolve this crisis is if the international community unites and putting pressure on both sides, not just the regime, but on both sides to honor a cease- fire and come to the table. >> patrick seale, is there any sense of what may follow the collapse of the assad regime in the event that is what occurs? >> first of all, i do not think it is going to collapse. secondly, the opposition remains divided. this is the main problem did unlikely in my view to achieve
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their goals so long as they failed to unite behind the program or a leader. the most important element in the opposition of the muslim brothers. they want to avenge, revenge for 30 years they would say of oppression by the assad father and son they do not want to negotiate and the regime does not want to negotiate with them. this is the trouble. the allies of the muslim brothers are these external islamists carrying out suicide bombings and other terrorist acts. so the situation is difficult. it is hard to imagine a negotiation taking place, but that is what kofi annan supported by the russians still thinks it's possible to do. >> patrick seale, can you talk about who the defense minister daoud rajha was questioned also, the significance of his death and the death of al-assad's
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brother-in-law, his deputy? >> it is also the minister of the interior, ibrahim al-shaar. you have assef shawkat, general daoud rajha and there must have been others in the room, possibly deputies or aids. something like a massacre of the top brass. this would give opportunities for younger men to come up. i myself do not think this is a fatal, terminal blow, but it is a very serious one. >> patrick seale, earlier this week, british foreign secretary william hague visited the syrian and jordan border and talked about some of the alleged atrocities he sought the regime committing and concluded, william hague, "electing no doubt the u.n. security council
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must pass an urgent chapter 7 resolution." can you talk about the significance of chapter 7, what that would mean in the event is invoked? >> chapter 7 opens the door for a resort to force by foreign powers, which the russians are totally against and have said many times, as are the chinese. they believe in the independence of sovereign states. sovereign states should not be attacked. [unintelligible] they will not accept american and german in that part of the world any longer. they say we also have interest and commercial deals. the chinese are major importers of iranian oil, for example. you have to remember, this sort in syria, this crisis in syria
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is intimately linked to the assault on iran. the united states and on by israel and supported by some european allies was to bring down the iranian and syrian regime. they would like to bring down the whole circle damascus, tehran, hezbollah access, which made a dent in israel's regional supremacy. the israelis are very keen this access be brought down. the united states on their own account thinks it is a good idea. we are facing not only in internal syrian crisis, but a major geopolitical regional contest between the united states and its allies on one hand, and russia and china, iran, perhaps iraq on the other. >> you say this could be the hallmark of a jihadi attack, but why? even if the opposition is divided, there is an opposition
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that is not jihadi. many of the syrian people are a part of that. why don't you see that being an attack of the opposition in damascus? >> well, because they have not used suicide bombings so far. suicide bombings were really a hallmark of the a sermon in iraq for which the united states suffered greatly. but not in damascus. the only suicide attacks in damascus appear to have been the work of jihadi is coming in from outside. in may, for example, two big bombs went off in central damascus and killed a great many people. now, that was thought to have been the work of jihadi s. i do not think the young men working -- fighting in the free syrian army would do this sort of thing and sacrifice their
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lives. it is one thing to sacrifice your life on the battlefield, and another to blow yourself up in order to kill someone else. that demands a particular friend of mine, i think, which -- the opposition is divided. it is divided in many different ways. those who say we must take up arms and those who say it is a mistake, those who are pleading for foreign intervention and the sick, no, we do not want that. those who are allies to the muslim brothers and those liberals who say, we do not want that sort of regime in syria because syria is a mosaic of communities. 10% christians, top% [unintelligible] 4% or 5% jews, and others. these minorities fill the what protection. and the secular regime gave the protection in the past half century. >> thank you, patrick seale, for
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joining us. we do have this late breaking news from reuters. five explosions heard in the syrian capital close to the military base of the mission led by al-assad's brother. that is the latest news we have out of damascus right now. british writer, patrick seale with us, author of, "asad: the struggle for the middle east." he most recently wrote, "the struggle for arab independence: riad el-solh and the makers of the modern middle east." this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
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>> a special ceremony yesterday honoring legendary folk singer, odetta. odetta was an icon of the civil-
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rights era. a plaque was unveiled in her honor in new york at 1275th avenue in. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> we turn to big money in the 2012 political race. for the second in a row, senate republicans blocked an effort by democrats tuesday to require political fundraising groups to reveal their anonymous contributors. in a pair of votes, supporters of the disclose act of 2012 fell short of the 60 votes needed to clear republican procedural hurdle. the bill was drafted amid an outcry that political organizations were exploiting a tax law provision allowing certain so-called social welfare groups to collect unlimited contributions without disclosing their donors. the senate votes come at a time the biggest republican donor in
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the 2012 election, casino magnate sheldon adelson, faces fresh scrutiny for possible violations of federal anti bribery law and ties to chinese organized crime. the potential violations stem from adelson's efforts to build casinos and other projects in macau. >> an investigation by the university of california, propublica, and pbs frontline found adelson may have violated the foreign corrupt practices act when he instructed a top executive to give $700,000 to a macau legislator who aided his company's efforts there. officials are also probing possible ties between adelson's company las vegas sans and chinese organized crime. he has given tens of millions of dollars to newt gingrich and mitt romney and other republican causes, and spoke -- spent up to $100 million to defeat president obama's re-election. for more we're joined by stephen engelberg, managing editor of
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propublica. he co-authored the article on sheldon adelson along with matt isaacs and lowell bergman. it is called, "inside the investigation of leading republican money man sheldon adelson." block and to "democracy now!" lay out what you found. >> this is a story about a man, sheldon adelson, who has a casino in las vegas and decides to go were the real money as, which turns out to be macao, a peninsula but on the edge of china's bid it is a place or used to be a colony, a portuguese colony becomes part of china the mainland china, gambling is illegal. you cannot collect gambling debts, either. there were no casinos in china. large numbers -- $8 billion a year for las vegas, 2 billion a year for macau. the chinese open up to american
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companies coming in and adelson was among the first. he was among the first to seize this opportunity, even though macao is a difficult place to do business. gambling has involved chinese organized crime rid politics is tricky. he got a gaming license and set to work building license. everything was coming into the american economy collapsed and the chinese cut off visas to macau, scale them back. suddenly, the money he borrowed to build this magnificent casino empire, is a huge debt that he cannot pay any to raise money. they need some favorable decisions from local authorities. they have very bad relations with those people. lawyer.ire a over the next few months, the
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things standing in their way start to disappear. they want to sell some apartment building separately. the government says they cannot do it suddenly, there are allowed to after they hired a lawyer. it was a big boost to their cash. they wanted a ferry concession to deliver the gamblers to their doorstep. in macau, courts have been saying, we will take this away from it and give it to someone else. the chief executive intervenes at the last minute before the final court ruling and says, stands keeps it. you guys when brit that was crucial because they were trying to raise $2.5 billion in the hong kong stock market in the ipo. what happens? the ipo goes off, they raise the money in the company is saved. by the way, sheldon adelson, flat on his back after putting in $1 billion of his own money, takes off like a rocket no
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american taxpayer has made more money during the obama demonstration and sheldon adelson. >> forbes magazine describes him as the largest investor in china. this report says his marable in macau. what you think some of the consequences may be with his investments there? >> he has made his bed. it is going swimmingly from an economic point of view. american investigators, both in the state of nevada and the federal government, there will be an accounting as to how they achieve this great success. we will see. these investigations have different outcomes. one thing that is different, sheldon adelson is the chief stockholder of this fortune 500 company, but in this case, his hands are on everything. this is not like he insulated himself from the doings.
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the decision to pay him was ordered directly by adelson. this is a rare moment. >> how did you get the emails? >> i could tell you, but -- suffice it to say, the emails are real. no one is contesting them read it shows there's a huge fight inside the company. the general counsel says it was inappropriate and should be stopped. adelson disagreed and the general counsel quit. >> what has adelson's response been to your investigation? >> we have heard nothing directly from him. in court, because there's an ongoing fight between one of the executives who is president of the macau operation and the company, he repeatedly said publicly that this is just a disgruntled employees and no proof to it.
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he takes a very vigorous or vigorously responded to things we of said about him in the court case. >> stephen engelberg is with us. we're also joined by peter stone, reporter who spent 20 years covering money and politics and has been writing for "the huffington post." peter, put this investigation that stephen engelberg and others have done into the broader context of what you've learned about sheldon adelson. >> i think it comes as an embarrassing time, potentially embarrassing time for adelson, and for a number of republican groups who have received incredibly large donations from him in this cycle. as you know, he was a leading supporter of newt gingrich and is an effort, the outside group backing gingrich. he had longstanding ties to newt
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gingrich and hoping he would get the nomination. when gingrich withdrew, he threw his support initially, reluctantly, to romney. he felt romney was not -- one of the quite as good on certain issues of particular importance to adelson. no. 1 on his agenda is strong support for the israeli government, particularly, conservative wing of the israeli political parties. he has close ties to netanyahu and generally considered a hawk on middle east issues. he opposes a two-state solution to the israeli-palestinian conflict with gingrich have been far more outspoken. romney is strong on these issues, too. he is now backing romney. beis overriding concern is to
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president obama. he believes president obama is weak on middle east issues. he also is publicly castigated him for economic policies and nothing described him to forbes magazine as socialist-style economic policies, which he is worried about continuing for another four years. so he has dedicate -- he is dedicated to defeating obama and throwing a lot of money, tens of millions of dollars, and to other groups outside groups that are planning big in trying to help republicans when the senate and keep the house. i reported a few weeks ago in "the huffington post," that he has given an estimated $70 million or committed to that amount thus far this cycle. we know about $30 million of that is public at this stage. i learned he has given at least $10 million to the karl rove
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group that does not have to disclose its donors, and pledged another $10 million for karl rove's operation did likewise, his given recently $10 million to a koch entity, one of the groups backed by charles and david koch. so he is definitely committed to getting obama out of the white house and trying to help republicans make major gains in the fall on the congressional front. >> peter stone, do you think there's any likelihood that romney's campaign may be hurt by these revelations in him receiving money from adelson? >> i am sure there will be people raising questions about this. i am sure eyebrows will be raised as these reports continue to grow about the investigation. if there is more evidence the investigation is widening, it
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could conceivably and bears romney. -- it could conceivably embarrass romney. but the money given thus far to the super pac backing romney, restore our feature, was just given in june so it is a little too early to predict how much this will impact the romney campaign. a >> stephen engelberg, how far will this investigation go? >> these things take a while. this willve asked if thes be resolved before the election? no. jereis is a fascinating question. if the incoming president is mitt romney, how does he handle it? how does the attorney general handle it? today recused themselves? they will be looking at ultimately the results of what to do about a major investigation -- >> why does it have to wait until then? >> these things take forever. it is clear from documents and
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other things floating around, the justice department is just in the early stages of looking at this. it takes a long time to collect documents, interview people, depose them rid there is no chance this will be resolved before the election. >> i wanted turn to sheldon adelson's on opinion on funding and presidential elections. in february, he told forbes magazine -- peter stone, your response to adelson's comment in "forbes" magazine? >> i think he became a much more generous donor to conservative groups and republican-leaning
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groups in 2008, in part because at that time, there were very few mega donors on the right, and republicans felt they needed someone who had done what soros did in 2004, which was contribute over $20 million to some outside democratic groups. i think he has =, if not surpass, soros this year. certainly, soros is doing nothing at all on the national level, anywhere near what adelson is doing. democrats were very concerned for a long time that the word be very little money coming from sorus. he is committed a million dollars to one outside group on the democratic side, but this year, adelson is certainly far surpassed what soros has done in the past. >> as one prominent republican has expressed concern about the source of sheldon adelson's campaign contributions.
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john mccain noted in an interview last month that foreign money may be coming into american political campaign. >> mr. adelson, if we give large amounts to the gingrich campaign and much of mr. adelson's casino profits that go to him come from this casino in macau. >> which says what? >> that obviously, maybe in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming in to an american political campaign. >> because of the profits the casinos in macau? >> that is a great deal of money. again, we need a level playing field and we need to go back to the realization that teddy roosevelt had. we have to have a limit on the flow of money and that corporations are not people. >> that is senator mccain on pbs "newshour." >> i think what he's saying is
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fascinating, but i have to give sheldon adelson credit on something. he is said, i am not hiding anything. i will do it in my own name but he could be doing this between 5 01-c for's. he said either political viewpoint and i'm going to pour money into this campaign and who is going to stop me? in a sense, that allows us to invest the source of the money. through the fact we know he is doing the contributions, we can tell the public what is going on. >> i want to go to adelson on israel and his agenda there. this is a bit of sheldon adelson and his own words. he and his wife recently donated and additional $13 million to a group in israel that sends young jews on free trips to israel. adelson is known for giving very few media interviews. in one of these few interviews posted online, he talks about the funding of the program.
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>> how many tours has it been already? >> a total of about 240,000 kids. >> a bunch of them have probably decideed to move to its request record 14,000 kids. it is a goal, but certainly a worthwhile end result. >> what would be the other goals? we hear these kids are ambassadors sort of to the jewish nation in the state of israel. if israel did not have these kids were there were no people, no jews that lived here that would advocate [unintelligible] israel would have to send people back. we have a ready-made ambassadorial staff. all we have to do is get them to come here and follow-up with israel. >> that sheldon adelson talking about his funding of taglit- birthright israel, which sends young jews on free trips to israel. he has even been critical of
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aipac for being too pro- palestinian? >> yes, i think he has criticized aipac. the group he is much more aligned with these days is the republican jewish coalition, which takes a harder line on some issues than aipac does. he is definitely interested in doing all he can to support those groups, which are really the most conservative backers of the net to none government. for many years, adelson also was a supporter of in a pack of eliot, which are reported on in 2008, that took numerous members of congress on trips to israel. -- adelson was a supporter of an aipac affiliate, which i reported on in 2008, that took numerous members of congress on trips to israel. he has put a lot of money into different efforts to basically
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educate americans about his side of the story on israel. >> an on the largest daily free newspaper in israel/owner of the largest daily free newspaper in israel, and supported the clarion fund that put out the film "the third jihad"? >> i know he owns and started a few years ago the largest free daily in israel. he deftly has been active, making no bones about it. and i think he was quoted at one point, msnbc had a segment a few months ago where they found an old convent of adelson's that in effect said, he would have preferred his son have served in the israeli armed forces to the u.s. armed forces. his quite vehement in his views on the importance of the israeli state and concerned it is not getting enough support from americans. >> i want to ask about the
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disclosed acrid tuesday, senate democrats' second attempt in less than 24 hours to advance a campaign finance bill called the disclosed act failed. before the vote, several democratic senators explain the importance of requiring americans spending more than $10,000 on elections to identify themselves. this is the bill's sponsor, sheldon whitehouse of rhode island. >> this disclose act will shun its light on the sources of the secret money polluting our elections so we as citizens can make decisions and judgments about their motives. >> republican leader mitch mcconnell meanwhile of kentucky lambasting the disclose act on the conservative radio show "the race to" with mark levin. >> this is the most important issue nobody is talking about. that is the effort by the left to intimidate those who are contributing to outside groups who are opposed to the obama administration and -- into not
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contributing or shutting up or going away. what the democrats have done is conjure of a proposal to require the disclosure of contributions ,o what are called 501-c4's social organizations, many of which both the left and right are involved in politics. they have done it to get their names so they can intimidate them with the power of the government. the irs is investigating tea party groups all across the country. the sec has gone after corporations they think may be exercising their first amendment rights. this is quite reminiscent of the nixon administration and the enemies list. they are checking their enemies list twice, making sure who has been naughty and nice. the people who are not our anyone opposed to the obama administration critics out senator mitch mcconnell.
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peter stone, your comments? >> mitch mcconnell is taking this slightly exaggerated view here, at the least. the proposed bill, the bill that was filibustered in the senate would impact democratic groups as well as republican groups. certainly, there are more republican groups this year since citizens united that have benefited from large donations, multimillion-dollar donations. studies have shown republican c4 groups have a raised democratic ones. but the bill would impact both equally. >> and the bill has been defeated? >> it has been blocked at this stage, right. i don't think there's any comparison for the nixon enemies list. i think what drives the bill's sponsor --
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>> fascinating that mcconnell is raising it about nixon critics and he is a longtime advocate for greater transparency in campaign finance a gestation and rolls. in fact, that is one of his major talking points over the years, that we do not need more regulations but greater transparency. here he is on the other side and said, well, if it is a politically-driven effort. which i think is an exaggerated one. i think republicans are concerned the groups that are backing republicans, which outnumber and have our raised democratic ones, would probably be hit harder by this kind of a piece of legislation. but invoking the specter of an enemies list, i think is certainly exaggerated and is politically incorrect. >> peter stone, your take on mitt romney and not agreeing to release more of his tax history
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except for perhaps two years? this is what is raging everyone -- everywhere right now. >> it is interesting romney is sticking to that position, especially since you have more republicans and conservatives raising concerns that he is only hurting himself at this stage by not releasing more information. i think it has reached a point where some republican governors, prominent conservatives are saying this is a drip, drip, drip, feeding media stories and an image of secrecy. whether he sticks to that, who knows. it is unclear. he is weighing the costs and benefits of it, obviously. >> can you say something about the other billionaires' apart from sheldon adelson who have been finding a presidential race? >> there are quite a few
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billionaires on both sides. once again, this republican millionaires are outnumbering democrats. you have folks from texas who are good friends, old friends of karl rove. bob kerrey, a homebuilder in houston, harold simmons, an investor in dallas. they have both given substantial contributions to karl rove's group american crossroads, the one publicly has to release its super pac -- the super pac has to release the names of its donors. they have also helped romney super pac. there are wall street -- prominent wall street billionaires who have also been active. paul singer is one of the more prominent hedge funds executives who runs the elliott management. these are just a few of the other large names. the koch brothers who are each roughly worth what sheldon
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adelson is worth, $25 billion each, for many years have been working to boost outside groups on the conservative side of the spectrum. this year, koch groups have talked about spending as much as $400 million in the elections to support republican candidates and to help defeat democrats. >> peter stone and stephen engelberg, thank you for being with us. peter stone is a freelancer with "huffington post" and other publications, has been two decades covering money and politics for the national journal and the center for public integrity. stephen engelberg has been managing editor of propublica since its inception in 2008. it just co-authored an article with matt isaacs and lowell bergman on casino magnate sheldon adelson called, "asad: the struggle for the middle east." we will have a link to it.
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this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. after we come back from the break, we will talk to boston globe reporter about the three missing years, 1999-2002. mitt romney says he was not in charge of bain at the time, was running the olympics in utah, but now some documents show otherwise. we will find out the significance. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
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>> singing on the side what here in new york city, honoring the legendary singer odetta, known for singing "this little light of mine calls, as well as "amazing grace." this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> president of his reelection campaign is keeping alive the controversy of republican
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presidential candidate mitt romney's tenure of the private equity firm bain capital. records reveal last week show romney remained at the helm of bain capital three years longer than he previously disclosed. he maintained left in 1999 to run the winter olympics in utah, the boston globe reported last redoubt on the contained - retain- control of bain and earned a salary through 2002. the three-year time in question saw bain shuttering a number of u.s. companies, leading to layoffs and the outsourcing of u.s. jobs. this is president obama speaking of the week in the battleground state of virginia. >> mr. romney has a different idea. he invested in companies that have been called pioneers of outsourcing. i don't want a pioneer in outsourcing. i want some insourcing. i'm with to bring companies back.
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>> president, in his reelection campaign says the boston globe report suggests monromney may he lied to the u.s. securities and exchange commission about his final years at bain. and senate, senior romney advisor at gillespie said romney had retroactively retired from bain in 2002, but had effectively stepped down three years earlier. he defended romney's record on msnbc. >> private shareholders and ceo's should be free in our economy to make decisions. what we need to do is a policy, to make policies that make those decisions easier to say -- i am going to invest in u.s. and not move my jobs overseas. the obama policies are forcing jobs overseas. >> that was ed gillespie speaking on "meet the press." we go to washington to speak with chris rowland, washington bureau chief for the boston globe. welcome. talk about the significance of
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this missing three years. 1999-2002. why does it matter how long romney was actually ceo and chair of bain? what's the thing to keep in mind and remember is, at mitt romney's first line of defense when confronted with allegations or charges that bain outsourced or forced companies in the bankruptcy while profiting or laid-off workers to wring efficiencies out of companies, one of his first lines of defense has been -- after 1999, i had nothing to do with the company. he has been saying that for many years. the thing that has come to light now that we reported last week and elsewhere, is that from 1999-2002, mitt romney was in fact the ceo and president and chairman of bain capital. that had not been revealed previously. it is included in a variety of securities and exchange documents where they disclose
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this when bain capital, a private company, has to buy stocks an investor and public companies so they disclose that information to the sec. now raises the question, how could he have retired in 1999 but remain ceo? so far bain capital and mitt romney have not explain this discrepancy very well. some information has come out about how he was legally ceo, but turned everything over to a management committee. i think it is true he did turn things over to a management committee, but the legal authority he had over the company and how he delegated still has not really been explained. >> is what romney did illegal by not disclosing his association with bain tearing that timeframe? >> from everything we can tell, it does not appear -- if there is any violation, it is fairly mild. we've not seen a smoking gun that would trigger a major felony investigation or anything like that.
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the standard for felony investigation for discrepancies -- it has to be willful act to hide information, but also has to be your intent is to defraud investors. there is no allegation here like that, so it seems highly unlikely there would be any felony investigation. also, these types of reports are called 13d's, where companies have to disclose the amount of shares they are buying in public companies if they own more than 5% of a public company. we are told the sec almost has never charged anybody for a 13d violation. >> chris rowland, this time frame, 1999-2002, some of the issues raised about bain swooping down on the companies it had bought, sending jobs overseas or just shuttering corporations and moving them overseas, romney defended himself by saying during this time he was not in charge. now his name appears on all
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these as ec documents. the significance of this? >> mitt romney's story has changed about this time frame a couple of times. when the first departed, he told the press, as part of our reporting we went back and documented every single statement we could find that was public as well as looking at what was filed in the corporate records and those sorts of things. when he first left, it was really build as a part-time leave of absence in 1999. he left solely to go to salt lake and run the olympics. he told reporters and the boston herald included, this will be a part-time arrangement. subsequently, it was more called a leave of absence. in 2002 when running for governor and back in massachusetts, he called it a leave of absence and the beginning of 2002, but toward the end of the campaign when he
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was confronted by the democrat who is running against him with a number of outsourcing and bankruptcy practices by bain, that as many said -- i left in 1999 bridge was much more definitive. >> christopher rowland, the last question has to do with taxes, sent to cover for the boston globe, whether you think he will release more than two years? but i cannot hear you. i think he said something about taxes. he is facing extreme pressure to release more than two years. it really is reminiscent of the primary when he was under extreme pressure. if you remember in south carolina, to release tax forms. he had several bad days and finally did release some tax forms. they're sort of having a difficult time grappling with a whole issue of tax forms and his extraordinary wealth. he is not very good at talking about it.
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>> we have to leave it there. thank you for being with us. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]

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